Lacuna: salted caramel-apple cheesecakes

So a funny little anecdote about how these cheesecakes came to be. I originally wanted to make an apple crostata, but when I was rummaging through the fridge, my dumbass self didn’t see I couldn’t find any butter(fun fact, there was butter in the fridge and I only found that out after buying two boxes of butter and making this dessert instead). So anyways, the dessert I ended up improvising with apples came out hilariously well, all things considered. I made a torta di mele (an Italian apple cake with grated apple in the batter) for a moist but tender crumb, and on that, I did a salted caramel-mascarpone rare cheesecake and salted caramel bundino, topped with some shaved apples. I wanted it to be Italian throughout, since the base of the cake was a torta di mele after all.

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For the torta di mele:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup semolina flour
1 apple, peeled, cored, and grated finely
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 tablespoons cider or balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg whites

Allow the apple, olive oil, vinegar, yogurt, and sugar to sit together while you are measuring everything else out. Combine ingredients together and pour onto a lined sheet tray. Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes. Cool completely.

For the rare cheesecake:
8 oz mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fleur de sel
3/4 cups heavy cream, in three parts
1 1/2 teaspoons gelatin powder +  1 tablespoon milk
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat up the granulated sugar with fleur de sel in a pot until it begins to brown. Deglaze your pot with one part of the heavy cream allow the caramelized sugar to melt into the cream over low heat. At this point, add in your bloomed gelatin powder and allow that to dissolve into the liquid as well. Whip the remaining 2 parts of heavy cream to stiff peaks. Pass the caramel through a sieve and whip into your mascarpone with the salt and vanilla, then fold in your whipped cream and transfer to a piping bag. Pipe into silicone bar molds, filling up about 2/3-3/4 the way full. Cut the torta di mele into rectangles about the same size as the holes in the mold and press those into the creams to seal them together. Freeze overnight, or for at least 3 hours, to set.

For the bundino:
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon gelatin powder +  1 tablespoon milk
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
a pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cook sugar down with salt until it begins to brown then deglaze with the milk. At that point, dissolve in the bloomed gelatin powder as well. Whip egg yolks with cornstarch and temper with the caramel-milk mixture, whisking on medium heat until thickened. Pass through a sieve. Whip heavy cream to stiff peaks with the vanilla. Fold the cream into the cooled down bundino and transfer to a piping bag. Pipe three dollops onto the set cheesecakes and garnish. For my piping tip, I used Russian piping tips, but really any kind can work.

To garnish:
Fresh apples
lemon juice
salt

Thinly slice the apples and toss with salted lemon water to keep from browning.

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